Marvel at one of the deepest canyons in Iceland.

North Iceland
The Hljóðaklettar rock formations in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park
Dettifoss waterfall in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park
The rocky Jökulsárgljúfur canyon
The Hljóðaklettar rock formations in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park
Dettifoss waterfall in Jökulsárgljúfur National Park
Best time to visit
Every day
Charging station

Dramatic canyons, giant waterfalls, and more are waiting for you in Jökulsárgljúfur, Iceland

Venture to the northernmost tip of Vatnajökull National Park, and you’re in for a treat. At 25 km (15 mi) long and up to 120m (393 ft) deep, Jökulsárgljúfur is one of Iceland’s largest – and most breathtaking – canyons.

You’ll find Jökulsárgljúfur, which translates to ‘glacial river canyon,’ inside the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park. This protected area in North Iceland was carved thousands of years ago by glacial floods caused by volcanic activity. Until 2008, the region was a nature reserve in its own right before it merged with the iconic Vatnajökul National Park.

What to see and do in Jökulsárgljúfur

This corner of Iceland rewards you with jaw-dropping natural wonders. Two of its star attractions are the horseshoe-shaped canyon Ásbyrgi and Dettifoss waterfall. Stop by this mighty fall and see for yourself why it’s the second most powerful waterfall in Europe.

But this is just one of the beautiful waterfalls that plunge into the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. You’ll also be treated to Selfoss, Hafragilsfoss, and Réttarfoss – three other nearby falls worth a visit. Along with Dettifoss, they’re fed by the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, the second largest in Iceland.

Rauðhólar (the ‘red mountain’) and the unusual rock formations of Hljóðaklettar are also worth exploring while you’re here. The best way to enjoy them, and all of the other sights, is by following one of the canyon’s many hiking trails. The walks range from easy hikes to lengthy treks like the Canyon trail, a 32 km (20 mi) route from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss.

How to get to Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

A good place to start exploring Jökulsárgljúfur is from the Gljúfrastofa visitor center in Ásbyrgi. This is where most of the hiking trails start. If you’re coming from the north, take road 85 and turn onto the road leading to Ásbyrgi.

If you’re driving along the Ring Road, take road 864 to check out the east side of the park. Meanwhile, road 862 will take you to the western edge of Jökulsárgljúfur National Park. Each route is studded with viewpoints you’ll want to stop at.

While Jökulsárgljúfur canyon is open year-round, road conditions during the winter months can be unpredictable. For this reason, summer is the best time of the year to enjoy it.

Other attractions near Jökulsárgljúfur

Trees in the lush Ásbyrgi canyon


Venture to this odd-shaped canyon on the Diamond Circle route and discover its mythological connections.

18 km (11 mi)

The Dettifoss waterfall in autumn


Feel the force of the second most powerful waterfall in Europe.

44 km (27 mi)

The harbor in the fishing village of Húsavík


Get up close to gentle giants on a boat tour from Iceland’s whale watching capital.

72 km (45 mi)

Lake Mývatn in its autumn colors

Lake Mývatn

Explore otherworldly lava formations and get close to wildlife near this lush lake.

76 km (47 mi)